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Monk, Thelonious

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Steve Lacy's Monk Quartet, Solo Sax Albums Reissues

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two reissues featuring the late soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy — a live recording of a 1963 quartet that only played Thelonious Monk tunes, and later music for solo soprano. Monk was always Lacy's biggest influence.


Love At First Listen: 'The Jazz Baroness.'

Jazz great Thelonius Monk had a unique sound that won him millions of fans — and it certainly stole the heart of the Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter. In a new documentary, The Jazz Baroness, filmmaker Hannah Rothschild explores the unusual friendship between the American jazz pianist and the Englishwoman, and the impact they made on modern music.


'Monk': A New Look At An American Original.

Robin D.G. Kelley's new book, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, focuses on the career of the eccentric jazz pianist and composer. It reveals new details about Monk's life, music and mental health problems, and provides a glimpse into the New York jazz scene of the mid-twentieth century.


Appreciation: Thelonious Monk

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead looks at the work of jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. This week, Monk received a special posthumous citation from the Pulitzer Prize committee for "a body of distinguished and innovative musical composition that has had a significant and enduring impact on the evolution of jazz."


Hearing New Music from Monk and Coltrane

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall. It's a long-forgotten recording of a 1957 benefit concert, which has never been released until now.


Two Monk Tributes Worth Your Money.

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews "Fred Hersch Plays Monk: Thelonious" (Nonesuch) and "Monk's World" by Italian pianist Umberto Petrin (on the Splasc label).


Pianist Jessica Williams in Concert.

An in-studio concert and interview with jazz pianist Jessica Williams, recorded at WHYY. The concert was previewed on last Wednesday's show. It will feature Williams' original songs as well as some interpretations of standards, some from Williams' 1997 release: "Higher Standards" (Candid). Williams has been recording albums, both solo and with ensembles, since 1978. Her music is often featured on Fresh Air between interview segments.


How Carmen McRae and Other Jazz Artists "Handle" Monk.

Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new CD featuring Carmen McRae. It's "Carmen Sings Monk" on the BMG/RCA label. The recording is a first: no other performer has been permitted to record the lyrics to Monks' songs. McRae got special permission from the Monk family. The CD also features the late saxophonist Carlie Rouse.


A Big Sound from the Microscopic Septet

Joel Forrester and Phillip Johnston founded the NYC-based jazz combo. The group had trouble finding an audience early on, in part because of their unique blending of styles. Forrester and Johnston join Fresh Air to talk about their influences, and the logistics of keeping such a large group together.


Paying Tribute to Thelonious Monk

Pianist Kenny Barron says that the late jazz musician's style was jagged, percussive and dissonant. Barron performs some of Monk's compositions to demonstrate this innovative approach.


Legendary Jazz Producer Orrin Keepnews Discusses Working with Thelonius Monk.

Independent jazz producer Orrin Keepnews. For the past 30 years he's produced the music of jazz artists like Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and Wes Montgomery. He was the founder of two important jazz labels, Riverside Records and Milestone Records. This year, he won a Grammy for the liner notes of a new box set of the complete Riverside recordings of Thelonious Monk.


Mixing Musical Traditions.

Pianist Ran Blake. He heads the Third Stream Music Department at the New England Conservatory of Music. Third Stream music, a term coined by composer Gunther Schuller, integrates classical and jazz traditions. Blake has extended the definition to include other kinds of music. A CD of Blake's 1961 recording with singer Jeanne Lee has just been reissued by RCA.


Curating Musical Tributes

Record producer Hal Willner gathered rock and jazz musicians to pay tribute to composers Nino Rota and Thelonious Monk on two separate compilation albums.


Kenny Barron on Monk, Jazz, and Teaching.

Pianist Kenny Barron is part of the band Sphere. One of the group's largest influences and inspirations is Thelonious monk whose work is featured on their newest and first album "Four in One." Native Philadelphian Barron has also recently released two solo albums "Kenny Barron at the Piano" and "Golden Lotus."Barron also teaches music at Rutgers. Sphere will perform at the Afro-American Museum.


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